Albert Park MP Calls for compulsory jet-ski Insurance

Sara
JET-SKIERS should be forced to have third-party insurance, operate further from swimmers and face tougher licence tests and fines, a state MP has urged. Martin Foley, whose Albert Park electorate takes in beaches including St Kilda and Port Melbourne, has written to Police Minister Peter Ryan calling for tougher regulations for jet-skiers following the death of a swimmer struck by a jet-ski off Port Melbourne almost a fortnight ago. Mr Foley told The Age the massive growth in jet-ski users was not matched by adequate regulation. ''Week after week over summer the rules are not being applied … jet-skis are going into swimming areas - it's a recipe for trouble,'' he said. He said there had to be an urgent boost in resourcing to allow water police to better enforce existing laws that prohibited the use of jet-skis in swimming-only zones. Mr Foley has released an issues paper, Safer Beaches and Waterways: Clamping Down on Jet Skis, and said increased policing of jet-skis should be made an operational priority.

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Newmarket Hotel fined

ST Kilda’s Newmarket Hotel has been fined nearly $30,000 for illegally installed kitchen exhaust flues and mechanical equipment that was causing noise and odour problems for residents. Port Phillip council took the hotel to court on February 8 for issues arising from redevelopment works since the business re-opened in December 2010. The court placed the Newmarket Property Group Pty Ltd on a good behaviour bond for 12 months, and ordered it to donate $12,000 to the Lighthouse Foundation charity and pay the council’s costs of $17,700.

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Rip theories put to the test

Rob Brander knows what it feels like to be caught in a rip current that quickly takes you hundreds of metres from the shore. As he was being swept out to sea, some of the common advice about what to do popped into his mind, such as ''swim to the side'' of the rip, he recalls. But, ''the rip was so wide I couldn't actually see either side''. Another favourite phrase, ''don't worry'' because the rip will bring you back to the beach, entered his head. But on this occasion he could not see the beach, just big walls of water. ''Finally, I reminded myself that I should 'relax and don't panic' and was amazed that this provided me with absolutely no comfort at all,'' he relates in his book, Dr Rip's Essential Beach Book: Everything you need to know about Surf, Sand and Rips. Dr Brander, a coastal geomorphologist at the University of NSW, threw himself into the rip in the name of science, as part of an experiment to try and understand these often deadly ''rivers of the sea''.

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Doctors are practising what they leech

Sara
IF YOU think your job sucks spare a thought for the Richardsonianus australis, a species of leech increasingly being used for medicinal purposes. The practice of leech therapy has been around for more than 2000 years, with the creatures used to treat everything from hysteria to haemorrhoids. They fell out of favour with the advent of modern medicine but are back in vogue and being used by both mainstream medics and alternative practitioners. The Richardsonianus australis, a species from Victoria, has been used in NSW public hospitals for about a decade, mainly in the field of microsurgery. Now alternative practitioners in Australia have latched on to the leech as a treatment for conditions such as varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis and arthritis. And clinics overseas offer leech therapy as a beauty treatment. Stefan Hafner, a Sydney leech therapist who has worked as a paramedic and has a background in acupuncture, has been using the creatures for about a year.

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Education

Sara
The youth population is continuously increasing, and is estimated to reach 1.8 billion this year. Obviously, it is a large population of mass power. Yet, as we say goodbye to another year’s International Youth Day, as the new Youth Advisor for the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, I think it crucial to point out that a vast portion of youth energy remains confined by physical and mental chains in countries affected by war and conflict. This must be addressed. In my home, Syria, young people face many challenges. My country is the home of 4 million young people, of whom none have managed to survive war’s impact. A 6-year war has produced 4 million young people left behind with a low quality education, more hunger, increasing numbers of poor and displaced people… and so the list goes on. Most youngsters saw quickly that the key for a sustainable and safer future was to flee Syria to a developed country.

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Party people fined in Elwood parking blitz

Sara
LOCAL councils are raking in more than $100 million a year in parking fees and fines as metropolitan roads become more congested. The City of Melbourne earned more than $44 million in fines in 2010-11, up almost $3 million on the previous year's take. Port Phillip Council, which includes St Kilda, South Melbourne and Elwood, reaped $25 million in fees and fines last year and issued 178,000 parking tickets. The windfall was 12 per cent up on the previous year and was almost 20 per cent of the council's income. Other councils that earned big bucks from parking fees and fines included Stonnington and Boroondara, according to a Herald Sun analysis of municipal annual reports. Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said councils were desperate for revenue, as they expected to be hit hard by the carbon tax. "Parking fees are getting out of hand," he said. "It's all about getting some revenue in." But the Melbourne City Council said fines were needed to ensure that parking in the city was fair and accessible to everyone.

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The Secret Life of Stuff

We start with Julie Hill hosing out maggots from her mother's wheelie bin. They are the unintended consequence of the local council's switch to fortnightly waste collection, done in the name of encouraging people to throw away less stuff and recycle more. As a lifelong professional green – a serial adviser to numerous governments and corporations - Julie Hill is in sympathy with the message. But clod-hopping bureaucrats keep coming up with solutions to fit Whitehall targets rather than the needs of green living. Going green should be about a simpler and better life, not a bin full of maggots. Part of the charm of this calm but devastating "manual for a new material world" is that Hill is genuinely interested in where her stuff comes from. While wanting less of it, she recognises that from cave man to silicon man, our stuff is, well, the stuff of life. "We all love stuff – I am no exception", she begins.

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Sex and the City

Sara
I’ve always been of the opinion that if Carrie Bradshaw had popped onto our television screens in 2010 instead of 1998, she would have been a blogger. But alas, she didn’t, so she wrote a (gasp!) print column for the fictional New York Star newspaper. Yes, before there were blogs, there were newspaper columns – where readers couldn’t talk back or share good content. ‘Carrie the blogger’ would have been huge. Though the words of Carrie and her cohorts have not been etched in permalink stone, their messages linger on. And despite the fact that Carrie was allergic to the internet and only used her Apple Powerbook for word processing her articles, the lessons, ideas and, more pointedly, the actual quotes that came barreling out of Sex and the City still speak directly to us Copybloggers. “You sleep with someone, all of a sudden you start rationalizing all of the red flags away.” Now, hopefully, you aren’t sleeping with your clients, readers or other bloggers (on a regular basis).

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Pictures of the month January

This gallery contains 10 photos.

[gallery columns="2" ids="159,158,162,163,164,165,166,167,168,169"]

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The Toy That Became The Ultimate Sport

One of the amazing things about the internet economy is how different the list of top internet properties today looks from the list ten years ago. It wasn’t as if those former top companies were complacent – most of them acquired and built products like crazy to avoid being displaced. The reason big new things sneak by incumbents is that the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.” This is one of the main insights of Clay Christensen’s “disruptive technology” theory. This theory starts with the observation that technologies tend to get better at a faster rate than users’ needs increase. From this simple insight follows all kinds of interesting conclusions about how markets and products change over time. Disruptive technologies are dismissed as toys because when they are first launched they “undershoot” user needs. The first telephone could only carry voices a mile or two. The leading telco of the time, Western Union, passed on acquiring the phone because they didn’t see how it could possibly be useful to businesses and railroads – their primary customers.

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